Do you ever decide to like something before you try it? I do and, predictably, these moments never end well. Just like Paris syndrome afflicts Japanese tourists, choosing to like something before you experience it leads to an inevitable anti-climax.
This happens all the time with movies, books and bakeries. It can happen with clothing and exercise classes as well. While it seems cruel that a coffee shop would let you down, that’s exactly what happened at Parlor Coffee in Williamsburg. Maybe if the espresso bar wasn’t on Eater’s coffee heat map, maybe if I hadn’t waited so long to go, maybe then I would have liked it.
Parlor Coffee is in the back of the barber shop Persons of Interest in Williamsburg. A sandwich board is proudly displayed out front, advertising coffee to whomever feels bold enough to weave their way through a strange shop to buy it. Lo and behold, I did. It would have been a touch awkward had their actually been people their getting their beards clipped, but it was early on a sunny summer Saturday and I’ll go anywhere for coffee.
I walked through the empty barber chairs and arrived at espresso bar that was small enough to rival Italian ones. The small space means a false choice between a to-stay and take-away is a false one. Unless you’re sitting down for a hair cut, you’re getting your drink to go. This unfortunately limits your drink options to things that are poured evenly in cups. I ordered a cappuccino.
And I didn’t like it.
The cappuccino fell flat. The coffee seemed okay, but all I could taste was milk. True, the milk was the ideal lukewarm for a good drink, but lukewarm milk doesn’t taste all that great. The schiuma was okay, but more latte-style than cappuccino style. I drank it and moderately enjoyed it, but don’t order a cappuccino when you do to Parlor Coffee. Get a macchiato or an espresso and let me know what you think.
While I was disappointed with my experience at Parlor Coffee, it just reminds us how the experience of drinking any coffee beverage is integral to its taste. Cappuccini will always taste better sitting down and a macchiato is the best when sipped slowly, chatting with a friend. I may enjoy getting my coffee to go now and then, walking around the streets holding a coffee cup may be a certain experience, but most of the time, the experience of sitting down to slowly enjoy a coffee is even more important than how it tastes.
What have you tried, expected to love and then didn’t?